Women’s Dinner Held in Phoenix

This article originally appeared in The Mennonite July 11, 2013 written by Claire DeBerg

Mennonite Women USA hosted their traditional Women’s Dinner during the 2013 Phoenix Convention of Mennonite Church USA.

Women from across the church gathered for a time of fellowship, connection and worship.

The weather outside was heavy and hot but the mood at their dinner was light and refreshing.

Co-directors Rhoda Keener and Ruth Lapp Guengerich greeted nearly 200 women at the catered buffet line with hugs, joy and thanks for each attendee.

Their program, “Prophetic Voices of Hope” started with mezzo-soprano, Mariell, celebrated for her ability to effortlessly cross musical genres ranging from opera, jazz, pop, gospel and country music. After several solo pieces, Mariell led the women in singing Rain Down as a prayer for their gathering.

Carolyn Heggen, co-presenter of Mennonite Women USA’s Sister Care seminars, spoke about the ways God is moving mightily in this ministry bringing Sister Care to an international level.

Heggen is reminded over and over again about the remarkable ways this important work is transforming the lives of women from India to Guatemala and beyond. Her frequent speaking engagements and workshops on personal and communal healing, pastoral boundaries, and PTSD as a professional psychotherapist prepared her for this ministry—a culmination of her gifts as manifested in the collaboration to create Sister Care with co-directors Guengerich and Keener.

Guest pastor, Jennifer Davis Sensenig from Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia, spoke on Rahab: Faith on the Border. She offered a powerful approach to understanding the life and circumstances of this boldly recorded Old Testament woman—the implications of Rahab’s choices and how they instruct and inspire followers of Jesus to make both extraordinary decisions and critical requests in the name of God. She challenged everyone to pay attention to the ways God is speaking into moments where our faith is on the border.

The dinner was concluded by the singing of We Shall go out with Joy, while MW USA staff and board members distributed letters, prepared by MW USA editor Claire DeBerg. Each letter has a special date on which it is to be read, providing an encouraging meditation focus for that day.

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